The Light of the Moon is a tremendous film that will stick with you long after watching and may be one of the most important films that you watch this year. Timely in its dealing with abuse, the story revolves around a New York woman whose life is turned upside down after being the victim of sexual assault.
The plot revolves around Bonnie (Stephanie Beatriz), as she endures the painful aftermath of sexual assault. The vile act itself is a precursor of what awaits Bonnie. I can’t think of a film that illustrates the step-by-step fallout of a rape as this film does. You see every aspect of what happens after the rape. The uncomfortable hospital visit post-assault, conversations with family, friends, co-workers and significant other. Bonnie’s attempt at normalcy and intimacy is all depicted.
There is this unseen behind-the-curtains look at the reality of what a victim of sexual assault has to endure and the step-by-step process is explored vividly and candidly by writer-director Jessica M. Thompson. Aided beautifully by actors who add a sense of authenticity, the actors and Thompson deliver on all fronts and make the viewer part of the story through their presentation. This could easily be a Broadway play and still work as effectively.
Beatriz is terrific in the leading role. She’s raw and vulnerable, but also brings forth an unwavering strength through Bonnie. It’s a powerful and totally complete performance. Not to be overlooked is the performance of Michael Stahl-David who plays Matt, Bonnie’s significant other. Stahl-David brings a lot of passion to his character and gives you a real perspective of what a loved one might endure during this recovery process.
The Light of the Moon conjures up the uncomfortable and raw nature of a documentary, for better, most of the time. It not only should be seen, but must be seen, as it can impact most people, adults, man, woman and teens. We live in an age when these heinous acts happen all too often, and no one is immune to them. Ironically the film is releasing at time where we are hearing daily about scandals such as the Weinstein cases are being brought to the surface. Acts that have been swept under the rug for far too long are being exposed. This film depicts the victims side and just watching Bonnie struggle and attempt to live out her life hits home in a way where it leaves a lasting impression on you.
If you’re seeking a film that will “entertain” you then you should adjust your expectations. This movie’s purpose isn’t to entertain, but more importantly to inform and depict the physical, emotional and mental horrors a rape victim has to live with. There are many moments that will make you cringe, but it’s a necessary cringe that’s part of the reality of the situation. It is one of the more authentic films that feels too real for any sort of enjoyment. While speaking to Beatriz, she mentioned how she would love to get people, especially teens, into a movie theater to see this. I couldn’t agree more and champion that statement.
It’s pretty surprising that a movie of this context and depth hasn’t been made yet. Credit to Thompson for being a trailblazer in this area by bringing this film to light and furthering the discussion. It’s as simple of a movie as you’ll see, which is also one of the big strengths of it. The complete focus on the story. Go do yourself a favor and check out The Light of the Moon. It could only inform you and make you more aware.